Public Library Standards 2007 - Physical Facilities
Public library buildings exist to support library services needed by a community. Therefore, libraries must be designed to support a particular library’s service program. No “one size fits all” building plan will meet every library’s unique requirements. There are, however, some traits that all libraries should have in common: libraries should be attractive, functional, efficient, flexible, barrier-free and expandable. Further, libraries must be designed around the needs of patrons but with staff efficiency in mind since staff costs are the major expense in library operations.
Library services continually evolve. When planning a new building or expanding and remodeling an old one, the design must be flexible enough to accommodate changes in services and technology. Long-range planning that responds to identified community needs and anticipates change is an essential part of the design.
The appeal of an attractive building should not be underestimated. Libraries that are shabby, dirty, inaccessible, dated or unattractive invite library users and the larger community to dismiss them as unimportant. An open and welcoming atmosphere is part of providing excellent, modern library service. Pleasant surroundings encourage the widest possible segment of the population to use the library and to regard it as an essential part of community life. Every public library should offer patrons a compelling invitation to enter, read, listen and learn.
|1. The library building provides adequate space to house a full range of library services consistent with the library’s comprehensive strategic plan and the standards in this document. (see the Space Needs Worksheet in appendix F.)|
|2. * The library director periodically prepares a written review of the library’s space needs based on community study findings and changes in use of space, services, size of collection, types of materials and staffing levels.|
|3. Building plans are adaptable to meet the electrical and telecommunications requirements of tomorrow’s technologies.|
|4. *The public library building complies with building, fire, safety, sanitation and other applicable federal, state and local codes and legal requirements.|
|5. *There is a budget allocation and program for the maintenance of the building and grounds.|
|6. *There is a written strategic plan for addressing the capital maintenance needs of the building and for securing funds for that maintenance.|
|7. The library’s governing authority, in cooperation with the library director, is responsible for building maintenance and planning.|
|1. *The exterior of the library is well-lit. Appropriate and highly visible signs identify the library and include hours of service.|
|2. The entrance to the library is clearly visible and in close proximity to the most accessible parking. The entrance is located, whenever possible, on the side of the building that most users approach.|
|3. Adequate, convenient and well-lit parking is available to the library’s users and staff at or close to the library. The minimum number of parking spaces required may be governed by local ordinance.|
|4. A fireproof depository for the return of library materials is available when the library is closed. The depository is located in a safe, well-lit area and is accessible to people with disabilities.|
|1. Building design and layout provide for:
|2. Interior lighting complies with the standards issued by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.|
|3. *Professional quality signage identifies service areas and the library’s collections; e.g., Reference, Children’s Room, Large Print Books.|
|4. The library has sufficient telecommunications lines to accommodate service needs.|
|5. *There is at least one well-maintained public restroom.|
|6. The library has meeting space available for library programming and/or for use by community groups.|
|7. Space is set aside for a staff lounge.|
|8. Space is set aside for a staff work area.|
|1. Sufficient seating, including study areas and lounge furniture, is provided. (see appendix F Space Needs Worksheet-step #2.)|
|2. Furniture is of the type and size and in a quantity sufficient to meet the needs of the library’s various user groups.|
|3. The online catalog is located as conveniently as possible for both the public and staff.|
|4. The library has appropriate furnishings for using technological resources.|
|5. At least one library restroom is equipped with a diaper changing table.|
|1. Shelving and storage systems are selected for:
|2. Appropriate equipment is provided and kept in good working order; e.g., microform readers, reader-printers, photocopiers, computers and printers.|
|3. Mechanical and electrical systems are adequate to support library technology.|
|4. There is an annual budget allocation for acquisition and maintenance of equipment.|
|1. The library undergoes periodic energy audits and implements measures to improve energy efficiency.|
|2. Adequate temperature and humidity controls are maintained throughout the year for the protection and preservation of materials, as well as for patron comfort and staff productivity.|
|1.* Written Emergency plans have been developed in accordance with appropriate codes; evacuation routes, fire exits and fire extinguishers are clearly marked.|
Architectural barriers should be eliminated in the designated children’s and young adults’ services areas and a warm, pleasant and friendly environment created.
|1. *The library has a specific area for children’s services.|
|2. The children’s area includes space for programs.|
|3. The children’s area includes a restroom or restrooms for children.|
|4. Restrooms and water fountain are close to the children’s area and are observable by staff and users.|
|5. The children’s area includes a staff work area.|
|6. The layout of the children’s area provides for appropriate sightlines for supervision.|
|7. The children’s area is convenient to other library service areas.|
|8. There is adequate communication with other areas of the building.|
|9. Access to the children’s area is easy and safe.|
|10. Furnishings in the children’s area safely and comfortably accommodate children of different sizes and other anticipated users of the children’s area.|
|11. Shelving is of an appropriate height.|
|12. Appropriate display space is provided.|
|1. The library has a specific area for young adults.|
|2. Furnishings in the young adult area are comfortable and age appropriate.|
1. The library monitors the areas below and works systematically and as feasible to bring each area into compliance with federal requirements for physical accessibility as found in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG).
When a library building project begins, the library’s mission must be clearly understood, data collected and reviewed, a planning committee appointed and finally a building program developed. Two key figures in this process are the architect and the person who functions as the building consultant, whether in-house or hired for this purpose.
The role of building consultant is significant throughout the building project - for aiding in collection of data, in drafting the building program and in problem solving. The consultant helps translate the needs of the library into instructions to the architect and offers insight into the library’s service requirements in light of current methods and trends.
Special consideration should be given to selecting an architect who has experience with library projects. Previous library design experience is important, but also important is an architect’s ability to listen to and work with the building committee and library staff.
Another factor is the qualifications of any firms (interior design, for instance) that might be teamed with the architect. Information on selecting building consultants and architects can be obtained from the district library consultants and American Library Association publications. Talking with area librarians who have first-hand knowledge of building projects is also a good idea.
|1. At the outset of a building project, there is a written building program developed by the administrator, staff, board and building committee with assistance from a qualified building consultant.|
|2. The architect chosen is a member of the American Institute of Architects.|
|3. There is an established process in which architects submit proposals that address the written building program.|
|4. The construction project employs the services of a technology consultant or technology knowledgeable person.|
|5. The new library construction project and renovations are designed according to the principles of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. The construction project supports energy efficiency and leads to environmentally friendly and occupant-healthy buildings.|
|6. The librarian, library board and/or building committee have reviewed the construction information on the Maine State Library website.|
- The Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, 1995.
- Beckman, Margaret. Public Library Buildings for the 21st Century: A Handbook for Architects, Librarians & Trustees. Bowker, 1993.
- Black, J. B., et al. Surveying Public Libraries for the ADA. Tallahassee, Fla.: State Library of Florida, 1992.
- Bocher, Robert. Library Technology Planning: An Outline of the Process. Madison, Wisc. : Department of Public Instruction, 1999; updated 2005. http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/planout.html
- Brawner, Lee B. and Donald K. Beck, Jr. Determining Your Library’s Future Size: A Needs Assessment & Planning Model. American Library Association, 1996.
- Brown, Carol R. Planning Library Interiors: Drawing on Function & Appeal. American Library Association, 2002..
- Building Blocks for Planning Functional Library Space. LAMA, Buildings and Equipment Section. Scarecrow Press, 2001.
- Building Libraries and Library Additions: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 11. Updated September 2005. http://www.ala.org
- Dahlgren, Anders. Planning the Small Public Library Building. 2nd ed. LAMA Small Libraries Publications Series. American Library Association, 1996.
- Dahlgren, Anders. Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline. Madison, Wisc.: Department of Public Instruction, 1998. http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/plspace.html
- Hall, Richard B. Financing Public Library Buildings. Neal-Schuman, 1994.
- Holt, Raymond M. The Wisconsin Library Building Project Handbook. 2nd ed. Revised by Anders Dahlgren. Madison, Wisc. : Department of Public Instruction, 1990.
- Illuminating Engineering Society. IES Lighting Ready Reference. 4th ed. New York: Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, 2003.
- Jensen, Mary Louise. Library Space Planning Guide. Hartford, Conn.: Connecticut State Library, 2004.
- Koontz, Christine M. Library Facility Siting and Location Handbook. Greenwood Press, 1997.
- The Library Building Consultants List is now a fee-based service accessible through the ALA website. https://cs.ala.org/lbcl/search/
- Library Buildings, Equipment, and the ADA: Compliance Issues and Solutions. American Library Association, 1996.
- Libris Design. 2005. Libris Design is a library facility planning information system and downloadable database developed for California public library planners. It is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. The Libris Design software includes a powerful and complex database and requires training to be used properly, but the site does include a set of Facility Planning Topics that may be used freely. http://www.librisdesign.org/
- Lushington, Nolan and Willis N. Mills, Jr. The Design and Evaluation of Public Library Buildings. Shoe String Press, 1991.
- Lushington, Nolan: Libraries Designed for Users, A 21st Century Guide. Neal-Schuman, 2002
- McCabe, Gerard B. and James R. Kennedy. Planning the Modern Public Library Building. Greenwood Press, 2003.
- McCarthy, Richard. Designing Better Libraries: Selecting and Working with Architects & Related Specialists. 2nd ed. Highsmith, 1999.
- Planning and Building Libraries. University of British Columbia, School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies. Ann Curry, Linda Levar, et al. Site created for librarians, architects, design consultants, and students interested in all aspects of planning and building libraries. Provides an outline of key resources that are available online. Created 1999; updated 2005. http://www.slais.ubc.ca/resources/architecture/index.htm
- Sannwald, William W. Checklist of Library Building Design Considerations. 4th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2001.
- Taney, Kimberley. Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover. American Library Association, 2002.
- Trotta, Carmine J. and Marcia Trotta. The Librarian’s Facility Management Handbook. Neal-Schuman, 2001.
- Whole Building Design Guide. National Institute of Building Sciences. 2005. Prepared under contract to the U.S. General Accounting Office, this is a web-based portal providing one-stop access to up-to-date information on a wide range of building-related guidance, criteria and technology from a 'whole buildings' perspective. Includes references and guidelines for the building of libraries. http://www.wbdg.org/design/libraries.php
- Woodward, Jeannette. Countdown to a New Library: Managing the Building Project. American Library Association, 2000.